How do approach a struggle in your life? The struggle is real and yoga has really been helping me with my struggle toolkit. My mother is the kind of person to ignore a problem and hope it will go away. I take more after my father – I deal with it straight on. To be honest, when I was younger this could end up being more like a full frontal attack, I’ve channeled that better as I’ve matured. But my instinct is still to go at a problem straight on. This can be helpful – I’m organized and on top of things.
Are you nodding your head? We’re taught to have a plan, to move towards our goals, to persevere, to show grit. Yet is that always the best approach – especially if there are roadblocks or things beyond our control?
Yoga gives me understanding and tools – more tools to be skillful.
Recently I’ve been doing Brett Larkin’s 40 Day Kriya. That hour a day has really been shifting things with lots of inspiration and lightbulbs. One day I had a vision of a huge knot – imagine a massive ball of wool. It looked like that – only it wasn’t wool and I knew For A Fact it was a Gordian Knot. The Gordian Knot was the huge tangly knot that no-one could unravel – then Alexander the Great came along and cut through it with a thrust of his sward.
(You can get more details on the Gordian Knot story here).
That my vision was a Gordian Knot made absolute sense to me. It’s how I go about solving a problem. I take the most direct approach and I usually tackle it immediately, if not sooner. So it came as no surprise to me to have a Gordian Knot materialize.
Then something strange happened. The knot, far from being wool, appeared to be made from some sort of plasticine, which is like is Play Doh. Like many a Seventies London child, I played a lot with the basic gray/blue plasticine my grandparents always had in stock. So plasticine taps into some of my earliest memories.
There I was, in the middle of my Kriya thinking how interesting, how peculiar that the huge Gordian Knot was actually made of plasticine. Then things got even weirder – the plasticine began to soften. Soon the knot was gone – it had softened and unraveled.
Here’s the shocker: I didn’t need a full frontal approach all the time. Apparently things aren’t always a Gordian Knot at all. Sometimes the better approach is softening. Yoga gave me understanding and tools
Recently I’ve been trying to add this tool as an option to how I approach a problem. Sometimes my direct, can do attitude can means that I don’t let things sit enough and I go off half cocked. I am loving working with learning how to soften my response and when that approach is more skillful than the direct approach. And my vision of the Gordian-Knot-That-Wasn’t really captures that journey.
This is the most amazing thing about yoga – it helps us understand ourselves better and become more skillful – in our communication and in our life.